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13 Times Actors Were Way Too Young or Old for Their Roles

Age is really just a number whenever our favorite actors are magically turned into their characters on the big screen. With the help of makeup, CGI, and the trending “de-aging” process they use in Hollywood, it’s no wonder we can’t tell them apart from their acting roles and real life.

Bright Side is always fascinated with actors taking on roles outside their comfort zones and far from their real lives. That’s why we listed some artists who’ve played iconic characters despite a significant age difference.

Too old: Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can

Even during his late twenties, Leo DiCaprio still looked fresh with his baby face, passing as the 18-year-old Frank Abagnale, a young con artist who pretended to be a pilot and a lawyer well past his real age in Catch Me If You Can.

Too young: Kirsten Dunst in Interview With the Vampire

Kirsten Dunst’s career as a child star was launched when she played Claudia in Interview With the Vampire, acting alongside bigshots Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. The then-12-year-old delivered an outstanding performance as a child vampire whose wish was to have a grown woman’s body.

Too old: Drew Barrymore in Scream

The iconic opening scene to Scream cemented Drew Barrymore into the minds of horror fans, making Casey Becker a cult classic. However, Barrymore was already 21 when she played the high school student and first victim of Ghostface.

Too young: Keira Knightley in Love Actually

When Keira Knightley portrayed newlywed Juliet to Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Peter in Love Actually, she was just 18 years old. Avid fans of the Christmas rom-com also noticed that she only has a 5-year age gap with co-star Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who played a little schoolboy in the movie.

Too old: Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

After 7 seasons of being a fan favorite, Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended with Sarah Michelle Gellar playing the titular character at 26. Gellar began portraying the high schooler when she was already 19.

Too young: Sally Field in Forrest Gump

Sally Field’s Forrest Gump experience was one challenging ride. The actress was meant to portray Tom Hanks’ character’s mother in different stages of his life. In a scene where Gump returned home after starting his business, Field, 45, wore makeup and prosthetics to look like an old, sickly woman.

Too old: Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen is all about a high schooler’s experience with friendship and loss. It started as a musical and was later adapted to a film with the same lead actor, Ben Platt. But he was already 27 when the movie version came out.

Too young: Emmy Rossum in the Phantom of the Opera

Emmy Rossum graced screens in the film version of the highly-acclaimed musical, Phantom of the Opera, with her angelic voice at 17 years old. She had striking age gaps with her 2 leading men, Gerard Butler and Patrick Wilson, who were already 34 and 30.

Too old: Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man

When he became the friendly neighborhood superhero, Tobey Maguire was already 28 as Spidey juggled college and took pictures for the Daily Bugle. This was common with all 3 Spider-Mans, who were all way ahead of Peter Parker’s age in the movies.

Too young: Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

Jennifer Lawrence is notorious for playing characters who are way older than she is. In Silver Linings Playbook, Lawrence’s character, Tiffany, was a love interest and dance partner to Bradley Cooper’s Patrick. Apart from sharing a 16-year age gap with Cooper in real life, the character was already a widow in the movie.

Too old: Jon Heder in Napoleon Dynamite

Jon Heder did such a perfect job at being the awkward sophomore in Napoleon Dynamite that even his one-liners became weirdly iconic. In real life, he was already 27 when the high school flick came out.

Too young: Angelina Jolie in Alexander

Playing a mother to an actor who is almost the same age as you can be pretty unconvincing. Angelina Jolie, who was 29 at the time, was evidently much too young to be the matriarchal figure for Colin Farrell’s Alexander the Great.

Too old: Anna Kendrick in Twilight

When Anna Kendrick was cast in Twilight as Bella’s first friend in Forks High School, Jessica, the actress was already a young adult. The multi-talented actress was actually 23 when the film debuted.

Which of these actors surprised you? Which of them did the best job at portraying their character?

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